I once had a colleague who, on a late-summer day, announced he was having a tomato for lunch. Not a tomato salad, or tomato soup, or a tomato on a sandwich, but simply a tomato, sliced on a plate and eaten with the loving care that a perfect summer beauty deserved. He wasn’t a particular food fanatic or an obsessive-compulsive of any sort. Rather, he cited the all-tomato menu a local restaurant had concocted to show off the new crop, and how he’d been inspired by the appetizer-to-dessert offering. Of course we teased him mercilessly anyway. How could we not, in all his tomato-lunch gravity?
I was reminded of him this evening, standing over my cutting board, slicing up a few of the new varieties purchased at the greenmarket this afternoon with the realization that chances to do so were dwindling. It wasn’t my intention to eat them plain, but then there was a piece of the small, oblong, orange-colored Valencia, so tangy I could swear it had been salted on the vine, and there was no turning back. Slices of the sweeter Big Yellow Taxi did make it onto a B(no L)T sandwich on Épicerie Boulud’s improbable Sauerkraut Bread. But the zippy little round Green Zebras were perfect all on their own.
A late summer tomato meal is perfection. Michael, this one’s for you.